New York Tenant-Landlord Law
The Fair Housing Act was created in order to ensure that everyone is treated equally during the housing process. It protects tenants from discrimination when seraching for a rental property. At the federal level the Fair Housing Act protects the following classes:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
Learn about fair housing at the federal level here
The New York Human Rights Law protects all the same classes as the federal Fair Housing Act in addition to protecting the classes of:
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
- Military status
- In New York, security deposits are not required by law but are highly recommended as they prove a tenant’s financial stability and guarantee a payment for damaged property
- Landlords may not charge tenants a deposit or advance that exceeds one month’s rent (Section 2 of New Tenant Protections).
- Landlords may not legally charge prospective tenants for the costs of processing, reviewing, or accepting rental applications. Additionally, it is prohibited to charge tenants any fee or charge prior to the beginning of the lease term. (Section 3 of New Tenant Protections).
- Though landlords cannot charge rental applications and related fees, they may still charge limited fees for background checks if the amount is the actual cost of running the background check or less than $20. They must waive the fee if prospective tenants provide a copy of a background check that was run within the last thirty days (Section 3 of New Tenant Protections).
- Landlords are not allowed to commingle deposit funds their personal assets. (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(1))
- If the rental property contains 6 or more related individuals, the deposit is required to be kept in a New York interest bearing bank account (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(2-a))
- In New York, a landlord must provide tenants with the name and address of the bank in which the deposit amount is placed (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(2))
- The entire security deposit must be returned after the tenant has vacated the property, unless the landlord retains a portion for damages. In such a case, an itemized list of damages and costs must be returned with the deposit within 14 days after the tenant has vacated (Section 2 of New Tenant Protections).
- The security deposit may be used to reasonably compensate for nonpayment of rent and utilities, damages, and costs of handling the tenant’s personal belongings (Section 2 of New Tenant Protections).
- If a landlord fails to return the security deposit and/or itemized list within 14 days, then they are subject to responsibility for the damages and potential penal damages, which could be up to 2x the initial amount of the deposit (Section 2 of New Tenant Protections).
Rent and Late fees
- There are no statutes in New York stating when rent must be paid (whether at the beginning or end of the month) nor regarding a time period in which a landlord must notify a tenant about a rent increase.
- Landlords may charge tenants for a late fee if they fail to pay rent within 5 days of the agreed upon time. The fee must be the lesser of $50 or 5% of a month's rent (Section 5 of New Tenant Protections).
- Electronic billing should not be mandated as the only method of rent payment (N.Y. RPL §§ 235-g).
- A tenant is allowed to withhold rent for a failure to provide essential services (water, heat, etc.) (N.Y. RPL §§ 235-a)
- If a landlord intends on increasing rent by 5% or more, they must submit a written notice to the tenant. For tenants that have occupied a unit or have a lease term of less than 1 year, 30 days notice is required. For those between 1 and 2 years, 60 days notice. For those of more than 2 years, 90 days notice (Section 8 of New Tenant Protections).
- If a tenant abandons a property, landlords must take reasonable and conventional actions to lease a property at a fair value or as agreed to in the lease. If the landlord does not try to alleviate damages in this way, the prospective damages against the tenant are limited (Section 8 of New Tenant Protections).
Notices and Entry
- There is no statute regarding a required notice before entry, but at least 24 hours is recommended.
- It is illegal to try to or actively evict a tenant that has inhabited a property for 30 days or more through the use of force, conduct that interferes with the "comfort, repose, peace or quiet of such occupant", or acts that interfere with the tenants ability to occupy the property (Section 6 of New Tenant Protections).
- A landlord is not required to give notice prior to terminating a tenancy with a fixed end date, outside of New York City (N.Y. RPL §§ 232-b)
- There is no statute regarding a required notice before entry for non-emergency repairs, but at least 24 hours is recommended
- There are no statutes regarding emergency entry either.
- The landlord must provide a tenant a written statement that they are allowed to prematurely end a lease in circumstances involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence.
- Landlords in New York must also send an annual lead notice between January 1st-15th to all tenants in pre-1960 multiple dwellings or dwellings constructed between 1960-1978 where lead-based paint is known to exist along with an information pamphlet.
- The landlord must disclose certain mechanical services and utilities sources and quality prior to accepting a purchase offer.
- If any structural damage is present (such as water, smoke, fire, or insect damage) the landlord must notify the tenant.
- Landlords cannot charge more than $20 for application and tenant screening.
- When it is failure to pay rent, the tenant has 10 days to pay you otherwise the eviction notice can be filed with the courts.
- If a tenant pays the full amount of rent to the landlord before the court hearing, the lawsuit may be dissolved and the landlord must accept the payment (Section 2 of Evictions).)
- When there is another lease violation (e.g. subletting), the tenant has 10 days to resolve the violation from the point that the eviction notice is served. Otherwise the eviction notice will be filed with the courts.
- Landlords are not allowed serve a notice to quit or commence an eviction in retaliation for a tenant's good faith complaint to the landlord or a governmental entity (Section 7 of New Tenant Protections).
- In eviction procedures, landlords are not allowed to collect additional rent for damages, such as fees, charges, and the like (Section 1 of Evictions).)
For more information on New York Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.
As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions will continue to impact millions of rental properties across the country. For the most up to date information on this legislation, as well as to see if your city or county has additional directives in place, please contact your local representative.